ARE CELL PHONES A REIMBURSABLE BUSINESS EXPENSE?
The use of cell phones has become commonplace in today's business environment. Employees in a myriad of different industries performing a wide variety of jobs use cell phones every day to carry out their job duties.
Labor Code Section 2802 requires employers to reimburse employees for all expenses that employees incur while doing their jobs. As such, an employer must reimburse an employee for an expense if the expense was incurred within the course and scope of the employee's employment. Thus, if an employee uses their personal cell phone to carry out their job duties and it was reasonably necessary for them to do so, then the employee must be reimbursed for their use of their cell phone.
A computer salesman is told by his supervisor to make sure he stays in regular contact with potential customers and to text customers about special offerings. Since the salesman uses his cell phone to text with customers about special offerings, the salesman is using his personal cell phone to carry out his job duties. The salesman is entitled to be reimbursed for his use of his personal cell phone.
An executive assistant is frequently called on her cell phone during non-work hours by her boss regarding work activities that she needs to accomplish. The executive assistant is entitled to be reimbursed for her use of her personal cell phone.
A foreman at a construction site is required to send a report to his company's superintendent every three hours. Since there is no computer at the worksite, he uses his cell phone to e-mail his reports to his superintendent. The foreman is entitled to be reimbursed for his use of his personal cell phone.
A delivery driver's manager calls him on his personal cell phone to tell him what pick-ups and drop-offs he needs to make. The delivery driver is entitled to be reimbursed for his use of his personal cell phone.
An employer, and not the employee, must shoulder all of the costs of running a business. If an employee uses their cell phone to carry out their job duties and it was reasonably necessary for them to do so, an employee must be reimbursed for the cost of the use of their personal cell phone.